The village of Cross Plains was one of the first Dane County communities to vote against a proposed Regional Transit Authority. And you can thank Kurt Schlicht for that. As a village trustee, he takes credit for the rush to declare the RTA, which would raise funds for roads, bus service and commuter rail, a no-go in Cross Plains.
Schlicht and his opponent, Susan Beil, a member of the Wisconsin Heights school board, are vying to replace Vern Wendt. The longtime supervisor served for 10 years, before finally calling it quits after his duties as Black Earth village president caused him to miss half the County Board's meetings during his final two-year term.
What is the single most important issue for your particular Dane County Board district?
Beil: Land use is the most important issue in Dist. 28. Residents want planned growth that takes into consideration preservation of agricultural land, natural resources, and the rural quality of our district.
If Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk were to leave office, who would be her ideal successor?
Beil: Scott McDonell, Dane County Board Chair.
Schlicht: Supv. Jack Martz.
Do you support a Dane County Regional Transit Authority, with its own taxing ability? Why do you think some communities oppose an RTA?
Beil: Yes, I support an RTA with a referendum-authorized taxing ability. Opposition comes from a fear that such an authority would only be used to subsidize mass transit in the Madison metropolitan area. Opponents are not thinking to the future for ways to reduce congestion on the highways and reduce pollution with the possible use of commuter rails from outlying parts of Dane County.
Schlicht: As the RTA is proposed now, I won't support it. This new taxing authority is a body of appointed members, unelected and unaccountable to the constituency of this district. Such a group could easily be subverted from its primary mission (transportation) to simply being another general purpose revenue source for Madison or the county. I brought to the Cross Plains Village Board a resolution that would reject the RTA proposal. Subsequently, it passed, and we were the first in the county to do so. The fact is that 20-25% of the $40-plus million raised every year in new taxes will go to subsidize Madison Metro and Mayor Dave Cieslewicz's trolleys. Dist. 28 needs a guarantee that its tax dollars won't go to subsidize trolleys in Madison.
Has the County Board become more or less relevant over time?
Beil: More relevant. I think that the County Board works hard to live up to its mission statement: "Dane County government strives to provide high quality and efficient public services that respond to public needs and treat every individual with respect and dignity…"
Schlicht: If more relevant means more intrusive into local affairs and pocketbooks, then yes, it has become more relevant.
Name the one quality you possess that is most essential to the job?
Beil: I have a willingness and ability to work with very diverse groups for the betterment of all, without having a personal agenda.
Schlicht: I have been active and engaged in local issues for several years. The people who know me best know that I am a "tell it like it is" guy and, as demonstrated by my voting record on Village of Cross Plains issues, I can say NO to wasteful spending. Dist. 28 needs a practical citizen legislator with a stake in the community in which he serves.